Fantasy Football Week 8: Start'em and Sit'em

Fantasy Football Week 8: Start'em and Sit'em
October 24, 2013, 7:00 pm
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CSN Staff

By: Tony Andracki, Scott Krinch and Mark Strotman

We're baaaaack!

Welcome to another edition of CSNChicago.com's Start'em and Sit'em, where three totally unqualified guys give their take on the best and worst plays in the upcoming fantasy football week.

We're not experts, but then again, how can anybody truly be an "expert" at fantasy football? This is a game of luck and nobody can predict the future.

We don't have special powers, but we are pretty obsessed with fantasy sports. Just ask our girlfriends...if we had any. 

Every week, each of us will comprise a trio of players with the best matchups or situations on tap for the week ahead and a corresponding trio of guys who are most likely to run into a metaphorical brick wall.

[RELATED: Week 7 picks]

And because we're men and we love perpetuating stereotypes, we, of course, turned this into a competition. Why not?

After three weeks (and all of last year), we realized a major flaw in our scoring: If we assign 0-5 values to each player's performance, there's nothing worse than a zero. And Mark's Week 3 sit of Antonio Brown (who went off for 31 ESPN standard points) should have been bad enough to sink his entire week (as Tony's picks of Cam Newton and DeSean Jackson in Week 6 did), instead of just that one pick.

So we've instituted a new system. We will add up the ESPN standard fantasy points for all of our "Starts" and subtract the points from all our "Sits" and the difference will be the weekly score. If one of us winds up with a negative score, so be it.

(Scoring example: If Scott's three starts total 45 fantasy points and his three sits total 20, he would finish the week with 25 points.)

So without further ado, here are our picks for Week 7:

Scott Krinch (Week 7: -7 points; Total: -2)

I really thought I was going to bring the goods in Week 7. Sorry if you listened to any of my advice. I predicted Doug Martin to get back on track and start to prove why he was a Top 5 fantasy pick. Well, it looks like the "Muscle Hamster" will have plenty of time to bounce back since we likely won't see him on the field until next August. I also criticized Harry Douglas. Sorry Harry, I know you're probably listening so since I've got your attention: I'm sorry. Anyhow, enough of the reminiscing on my pitiful Week 7 total. We're at the midway point of the season and now is the time to start making that playoff push before it's too late. I feel extra confident about my selections and you should too. I am at the top of the leaderboard for a reason.

Start' em

Michael Vick, QB -- PHI (vs. NYG)

Michael Vick has had three weeks to rest his sore hamstring and looks to be a full-go for Sunday's NFC East rivalry game against the Giants. New York has given up the 5th most points to fantasy quarterbacks so far in 2013 with an average of 25.7. Vick has history of coming up big in games against the Giants. In Week 5 he garnered 79 yards on the ground against the G-Men, I expect a repeat of that mixed in with around 250 passing yards to the tune of a 20-point plus fantasy game.

Eddie Lacy, RB -- GB (@ MIN)

Oh is this matchup gold for Lacy's fantasy owners. The Vikings defense boasts the worst rushing defense in the NFL and allow 28.8 points per game to fantasy backs. They also just gave up a 81 total yards to Peyton Hillis. Yes, you heard me Peyton Hillis. The same Peyton Hillis that was working on a farm at this time last week. Lacy is starting to come into his own. The former Alabama standout has scored in double digits in all but one game in 2013. Get him in your lineup and leave him there.

Rueben Randle, WR -- NYG (@ PHI)

Randle has four touchdowns in his last three games and Eli Manning seems to be targeting the second-year wideout more than the enigmatic Hakeem Nicks. Randle should continue his recent dominance in Week 8. The Eagles defense have allowed 14 touchdowns to wide receivers this season. Also, they have given up a combined 52.7 points to opposing fantasy receivers. As Randle heats up, get him in your lineup with this matchup that screams: "START ME."

Sit' em

Andy Dalton, QB -- CIN (vs. NYJ)

Dalton has been on fire as of late. Although that's not to be confused with the red tint of his hair. After struggling in the first three games of the season, Dalton has hit the 30-point mark in two consecutive games. I know you're probably excited about that, but don't be this week. The Jets defense is no joke. They have allowed one touchdown or less in five games to opposing quarterbacks in 2013. I expect this to be a low-scoring game with Dalton in the 10-ish point range.

Alfred Morris, RB -- WSH (@ DEN)

The production hasn't been a problem for Morris. He's been a solid RB2 for fantasy owners. But here's where he becomes a problem in Week 8. Morris' high-total number of carries this season is 19. He's only broken the 100-yard barrier once. And his opponent on Sunday -- The Broncos -- have only allowed 1 100-yard rusher in seven games in 2013. The Redskins have hinted at turning their backfield into a timeshare between Morris and Roy Helu Jr. That doesn't bode well for Morris' owners with Helu coming off a career-high three touchdown performance.

Julian Edelman, WR -- NE (vs. MIA)

Edelman has been Tom Brady's favorite target all season, but that was without Rob Gronkowski. Now that Gronk is back and nearing 100% it's time to temper your enthusiasm regarding Edleman. He was a nice story to start the year with two tuddies in Week 1, but he hasn't scored since then. The Dolphins haven't allowed a touchdown to an opposing fantasy wideout in 2013. So if this matchup could talk it would say: "SIT ME."

The injury bug hit everybody last week, but it was still crazy to see half the players I picked in Week 7 Start/Sit leave the game. Nick Foles was ineffective against the worst fantasy QB defense in the league when he was out there, but two of my three Sits wound up with season-ending injuries. Did I jinx them? Is that too egocentric of me to think I had any impact on two NFL players whom I've never met before?

Week 8 is the first time six teams are all out on a Bye, which means there are a lot less players to choose from for your lineups. With the injuries added in, don't be surprised to see lineups packed with the likes of Jarret Boykin or Mike James (no, not the Bulls point guard. At least, I don't think it's the same dude).

Tony Andracki: (Week 7 points: -1; Total: -35)

The injury bug hit everybody last week, but it was still crazy to see half the players I picked in Week 7 Start/Sit leave the game. Nick Foles was ineffective against the worst fantasy QB defense in the league when he was out there, but two of my three Sits wound up with season-ending injuries. Did I jinx them? Is that too egocentric of me to think I had any impact on two NFL players whom I've never met before?

Week 8 is the first time six teams are all out on a Bye, which means there are a lot less players to choose from for your lineups. With the injuries added in, don't be surprised to see lineups packed with the likes of Jarret Boykin or Mike James (no, not the Bulls point guard. At least, I don't think it's the same dude).

Start 'em

Tom Brady, QB -- NE (vs. MIA)

So at the behest (yes that's a real word. I looked it up) of several people, I started watching "American Horror Story" this week. You know, 'cause it's fun to be scared around Halloween time. My biggest takeaway is that show is seriously messed up. And it would be seriously messed up if you didn't start Tom Brady that week. You might call that an American Horror Story (see what I did there?). Brady's had a very forgettable season to date, but he has 39 career TDs in 22 games against the Dolphins and he has Rob Gronkowski back (you might have heard). I'm betting Brady turns it around this week.

Le'Veon Bell, RB -- PIT (@ OAK)

Don't worry, I don't have any more lame puns for you. Just simple facts here: The Raiders have allowed an average of 19.5 fantasy points to opposing running backs the last four weeks. In the three games since Bell has returned from injury, he's received 20, 19 and 20 touches. Felix Jones is his main competitions. Yeah...I'd say Bell is a smart play this week.

Marques Colston, WR -- NO (vs. BUF)

There has not been one week this season where Buffalo has shut down opposing wide receivers. Not one. They've allowed an average of 32.4 fantasy points to wideouts, including 12 tuddies in seven games. Colston's been off his game this year, but I'm guessing he's feeling fresh and ready to roll after New Orleans' Bye Week.

Sit 'em

Terrelle Pryor, QB -- OAK (vs. PIT)

This isn't your older brother's Steelers defense, but they're still a pretty good unit, allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs. Quarterbacks have thrown for 250 yards against the new-age Steel Curtain just once and have five touchdowns total in seven weeks. Stay away from Pryor in this one, even with his ability to make something happen with his legs.

Giovani Bernard, RB -- CIN (vs. NYJ)

The Jets defense has been pretty good this season (just ask Tom Brady) and Bernard's stuck in a timeshare with BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Cincy. I have no idea why, but they're just not giving Gio the touches he deserves. Until that starts to happen -- and until Gio has a better matchup -- he should remain on your bench.

Justin Blackmon, WR -- JAC (vs. SF)

Four. That's the total amount of TDs opposing wide receivers have scored against the Niners defense. In two weeks, Donte "Hitner" and Co. limited WRs to less than 10 points (7 in Week 2, 6 in Week 5). That's the entire wide receiver corps, too, not just one player. Blackmon is a little banged up and I just don't see this ending well for him or the Jags.

Mark Strotman (Week 7 points: -6; Total: -24)

Things were looking good for me in Week 7 until Harry Douglas decided to go all Megatron and have himself a massive day. Matt Ryan wasn't all that good other than throwing to Douglas, as Jacquizz Rodgers did most of the work in the passing game. Oh well, Week 8 is a massive week for those 3-4 and 4-3 fantasy owners. Do you stay alive with wins or drop matchups to fall behind and make the uphill climb that much more difficult? For me, this week is about reverting back to those players you drafted with intentions of starting but haven't had to every week. I see real matchups that you can exploit to get yourself a much-needed win before the second half of the NFL season.

Start 'em

Alex Smith, QB -- KC (vs. CLE)

The last remaining undefeated team in the NFL is the Kansas City Chiefs. Let that sink in while I tell you why Alex Smith is a starter this week. The Browns' defense began the year in stellar fashion but ugly performances against Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers have tempered the group. They're still 13th best in the league in allowing fantasy points to quarterback, but the Chiefs are rolling right now and likely will move to 8-0. That means another secure day for Smith, who is worth starting if you've got Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck or Philip Rivers on a bye.

Stevan Ridley, RB -- NE (vs. MIA)

Well it appears Mr. Ridley is back in business, and he's borderline must-start from here on out. After going for 23 points against the Saints he scored on the ground again and rushed for 50 yards in a win over the Jets. Now facing a Dolphins team that has been putrid against the run, allowing at least 18 points in very week since Week 1. I feel comfortable using Ridley -- and think a mad Bill Belichick may run up the score if he gets the chance -- as a strong RB2. One more big week could make him a must-start. Play him with confidence despite an incredibly slow start.

Anquan Boldin, WR -- SF (@ JAC in London)

Be weary of these overseas games, but the main focus of me wanting to start Boldin is that I think Colin Kaepernick is returning to his old self. The Niners have won four straight and "Kaep" now faces the seventh worst pass defense in the NFL on a neutral field. Frank Gore's continued dominance may make Kaepernick not a must-start all year, but Boldin showed he's still capable of catches and receptions, grabbing five receptions for 74 yards in a win over the Titans. He still hasn't scored since Week 4; I think that trend will stop in London.

Sit 'em

Ryan Tannehill, QB -- MIA (@ NE)

Playing from behind, the second-year quarterback Tannehill put up some large fantasy numbers last week despite throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble in a loss to the Bills. He's averaging more than 15 points over the last two weeks, which you would think puts him in QB2 territory when your starter is on a bye, but I'm not buying it. The Patriots are a sneaky good defensive unit with aggressive defenders and a quick pass rush, and I really believe the Patriots are going to roll in this game. That either means Tannehill gets to throw a ton in the second half, or it means he's the reason the game is a blowout.

Chris Ivory, RB -- NYJ (@ CIN)

I'm going against my strategy here, because I love playing runners who get carries. The CJ Spiller's of the world are great when they put up 20 points on eight touches, but I want a grinder who I can count on for 20+ carries and a goal-line run. Last week that was Ivory, who rushed 34 times for 104 yards against the Patriots. It proved that he's the lead back over Bilal Powell, but against a stout Bengals defense I'm not sure he can get much going. In fact, they haven't allowed a rushing touchdown since Week 3 against the Packers. If you really need to use Ivory, I can't blame you based on the carries he received last week. But if he's a flex option for your team, look elsewhere.

Mike Wallace -- MIA (@ NE)

I don't like Tannehill because of the Pats' sneaky good pass defense, and it's the same reason I'm not high on Wallace, either. The former Steelers' deep-ball threat hasn't scored since Week 2 and, though he's seeing targets from Tannehill, it just hasn't added up for him. Perhaps they can keep running out the same excuse of needing time to form chemistry, but it's Week 8. If you don't have chemistry now, it's likely not coming. Stay away from Wallace in your flex spot. You can find someone with less risk and just as much upside.